Acumen in Conversation: Insights from Southeast Asia

Highlights from Acumen’s Key Trends Southeast Asia Report 2024

The video featured a mini panel discussion on a recent report regarding key trends in Southeast Asia. The session was hosted by Haike Manning, Executive Director for Acumen in Southeast Asia, with panellists Rajeswary Sogamaur, Country Director for Malaysia, and Bang Pham, Senior Manager for Partner Success in Vietnam. The aim of the session was to explore the findings of the report, examine themes, and provide perspectives on Southeast Asia and international education.

Key Highlights:

Educational Backgrounds: Both panellists shared their extensive experience in the education sector, emphasising their passion for contributing to its success. Raji has been involved in international student recruitment and marketing for 17 years, while Bong transitioned from an intern to a senior position over a decade. 

Interest in Regional Mobility: Raji noted the rising trend of intra-Asian mobility, attributing it to changes in how students and parents view international education. This trend reflects the growing academic excellence of Asian universities and increasing opportunities for students in countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China.

Growth of Private Education in Vietnam: Bong highlighted the emergence of local private investment in education in Vietnam, marking a significant trend. This shift towards privatisation and international schooling within the country is creating new opportunities and challenges for international institutions.

Advice for International Institutions: The panellists suggested that international universities should recognise the competitive landscape in Asia and adapt by offering more creative and competitive advantages, particularly in employment opportunities. They also stressed the importance of building relationships within these culturally driven markets.

Policy Changes and Market Reactions: The panel touched on recent policy changes in key study destinations like Australia, the UK, and Canada, which may restrict options for international students. Both Vietnam and Malaysia are observing a “wait and see” approach, focusing on what they can control domestically rather than foreign policy changes.

Communication and Engagement: Effective communication with prospective partners and students was underscored as crucial, especially in navigating changes in immigration policies and market uncertainties. Maintaining up-to-date information and providing reassurance are key strategies for engagement.

This session served as an informative discussion on the dynamics of international education in Southeast Asia, highlighting the significance of regional mobility, the impact of private investment in education, and strategies for international institutions to navigate a changing landscape.

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